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When scenic photos turn lethal: new Australian victim

September 10, 2015 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A Melbourne woman, who died in Norway at the weekend after falling from a popular tourist attraction in the mountains, has become the latest traveller to die by accident while posing for a photo.

Kristi Kafcaloudis, 24, fell several hundred metres from the Trolltunga rock formation in southwest Norway, Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende reported. Trolltunga means Troll’s Tongue and the formation is precipitous (see photo below).

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The hazard of plunging inadvertently over cliffs while posing for photos, or taking them, has existed since the invention of the camera.

The current popularity of “selfies” has increased the risk, though Kafcaloudis wasn’t taking a selfie. She is reported to have slipped while preparing to pose for a photo with classmates from Norway’s University of Bergen.

In May, a Singaporean man plunged to his death from a cliff while trying to take a selfie on an island off the coast of Bali. Mohamed Aslam Shahul, 21, was killed after toppling backwards into the sea as he took the selfie during a holiday with eight friends at Sandy Bay Beach in Nusa Lembongan.

On the other side of the world in that same month, a 48-year-old mother-of-three, Stephanie Stone Anderson, died while hiking with her family in Crowders Mountain State Park in South Carolina. Having climbed with her husband and one of her daughters to the park’s highest peak, King’s Pinnacle, the victim was attempting to take a family photo at the summit when she tripped and plummeted 50 metres to her death.

In reporting that tragic event, the local Gaston Gazette observed that “Sadly, this isn’t the first tragedy to take place on a cliff during what was supposed to be a happy moment”. A woman in Ibiza, Spain, died after her wedding proposal went terribly wrong. She slipped and plunged off of a cliff while jumping for joy moments after the proposal, the paper reported.

In another European incident, a Polish couple taking a selfie on a rocky precipice in Cabo da Raca, west Portugal, watched by their children, died when they fell hundreds of metres in August last year. A similar fatal mishap befell a traveller in Italy, who died while walking backwards to get a better photo.

Just last week, a man was found with his phone and selfie stick lying dead at the bottom of a ravine near a waterfall in Zhejiang, eastern China.

Local police speculate that the man, referred to just as Mr Chen, “lost his footing while taking a selfie”, the People’s Daily Online reported.

Written by Peter Needham

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